5 Inexpensive Kitchen Tools I Replace Every Year

Keep your kitchen in tiptop shape with a few new essentials.

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December 31, 2021

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Ok, ok. I admit it. I have a wooden spoon that's as old as heck in my utensil drawer. I can’t bring myself to throw it away because it’s the one I used in culinary school. But, nostalgia aside, I make replacing kitchen tools that are worn (or potentially harboring germs and bacteria) a priority. Every year when I do a major clean of my home, I spend some time looking through the contents of my kitchen. These are the five things that I replace every year — and my reasons for giving them the boot.

$27

It can be hard to part with your favorite kitchen towels, especially if they add character to your kitchen or perfectly match your décor. But, after a while, they start to lose their soft texture and absorbency. All Clad's simple, stylish, color block towel will make you forget all about the ones you tossed. They're the top-performing dish towels in our test and will make you forget all about those ones that don't dry well.

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$17.95

Two-piece spatulas can trap germs in the space between the silicone head and wooden handle (especially if you don’t take them apart to clean them) so I try to look for spatulas with a one-piece design. GIR makes comfy, non-slip spatulas are safe for high-heat cooking and just the right size for everyday tasks like scrambling eggs and making sauces.

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$19.99

Wood has a tendency to crack over time, especially if it’s exposed to temperature changes or left to soak in water. (Sounds a lot like what happens with you’re cooking and washing dishes, doesn’t it?) Plus, wood absorbs odors easily. That’s why (culinary school spoon aside) I like to swap my wooden utensils every spring. You can’t go wrong with this budget-friendly, five-piece set — the bright, colorful handles will make everything in your kitchen feel fresh and new.

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$19.99

Regardless of how well you clean your natural-bristle brushes (gently, right away and paying special attention to the area where the bristles attach to the handle, right?) they have a tendency to get oily over time. Since I use mine often (for everything from egg-washing pastries to basting roasts) I’m ready for an upgrade once a year. I love this set for its durability and range of sizes.

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$12.99

In order to prolong the life of my oh-so-lovely wooden cutting board, I let flexible cutting mats do some of the heavy lifting in the kitchen. They're so cheap that you can easily swap them out whenever they start showing lots of deep cuts and scratches (that’s where bacteria like to hang out). This three-piece set gets bonus points for being color coded (which prevents cross-contamination): red for meat, blue for seafood and green for fruits and veggies.

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